I’m a scapegoat for state looters, says #JacobZuma
Politics / 29 November 2018, 07:40am / Bheki Mbanjwa
Durban - Former president Jacob Zuma says his name has become synonymous with corruption thanks to a public and media campaign orchestrated by the National Prosecuting Authority.
“Since I was charged I have become the scapegoat for those who themselves seek to engage in sophisticated looting of the state resources while they lull society into believing that they act in its interests.”
Zuma makes this claim in his affidavit filed in the Durban High Court as part of his application for a permanent stay of prosecution in his corruption case.
Zuma argues in the papers that he is being treated unfairly, and that allowing the case to continue would be a violation of his rights.
“If there was ever a case in post-apartheid South Africa with the most grotesque violation of the rights of an accused, my prosecution is such a case,” he says.
The crux of his argument is that as there have been delays of the trial; pre-trial irregularities; political interference; and forensic prejudice, which includes memory loss and prosecutorial misconduct, he is unlikely to get a fair trial.
In the 300-page affidavit he lashes out at the NPA, painting it as a body that is hellbent on getting him while not playing fair. He says that to this day, the NPA has failed to provide him with certain documents.
These include accounting records “relating to the payment” of his rape accuser Fezekile “Khwezi” Ntsukela Kuzwayo.
He says the NPA has refused to respond to this request for the accounting records. “The purpose of this request was to establish whether Khwezi had any interaction with anyone in government or whether any possibility of executive interference and mala fides on the part of the NPA (or some form of inducement) existed."
Zuma says it is necessary to establish whether the rape trial was part of a strategy to block his political ambitions.
He has further requested documentary evidence; the Browse Mole report; Sars documents; and the breakdown of expenses and accounting records relating to his prosecution.
He says the accounting records will help him establish whether there was any abuse of public money for illegal operations and may reveal whether there has been any irregular expenditure by the NPA, including funding the Browse Mole investigation, which was used to” illegally” gain details of his finances and his movements.
Zuma blames the NPA for not setting the record straight or disputing media reports and book chapters which he says are part “of the grand anti-Zuma narrative” meant to prejudice him.
Zuma also says the so-called spy tapes are proof that his case is fraught with prosecutorial irregularities as they reveal how current prosecutor Billy Downer fed the media a narrative meant to prejudice him.
The tapes, he claims, further prove that there was a political hand behind the NPA’s decision to charge him, and says his axing in 2005 by the then president, Thabo Mbeki, “was in effect and implication a clear directive to the NPA to charge me”.
He then blames the NPA for the 17 years of delays, saying these mean the quality of evidence may have been irreparably compromised as he would have to recall past events “with the normal fallibility of memory and loss of access to documents and persons".
Zuma says the State should have charged him alongside his former financial adviser, Schabir Shaik, and says the decision to the contrary shows that the prosecution wanted to use Shaik’s trial as a "dry run" for his own prosecution.
Had he been prosecuted together with Shaik, the State would have saved costs and avoided what he says looks to be a lengthy and costly trial as the State has lined up 200 witnesses and “documents in a container”.
Meanwhile, French arms company Thales has argued in its application for a permanent stay of prosecution that the decision to reinstate charges against it was unconstitutional and that the NPA failed to follow its own protocols.